At more than 180 percent of design capacity, the women’s prison is the most crowed facility in California, according to data from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
“It’s gender discrimination,” said Adrienne Roberts, campaign coordinator with California Coalition for Women Prisoners.
The coalition said it has received hundreds of letters from people inside the prison describing a lack of basic medical care, as well as limited access to job programs and legal resources.
“The system is not working,” Roberts said. “People are living in the most inhumane and insufferable conditions.”
The protest is scheduled for 3 p.m. in front of Valley State Prison outside Chowchilla.
Prison officials didn’t return calls seeking comment by deadline.
Hundreds of female inmates were transferred to the prison after the formerly named Valley State Prison for Women was recently converted to a men’s facility to ease prison crowding under a federal court order.
“It’s a total paradox to be reducing the prison population in California and as a result CCWF is now the most overcrowded prison,” Roberts said.
Organizers of the rally demand the state release prisoners, such as elderly, terminally ill and permanently incapacitated inmates, to ease Chowchilla’s crammed women’s facility.
A number of early-release programs designed by the state could be used to safely reduce the prison population, Roberts said.
“This is not something that we have not come up with. These are programs that the Department of Corrections is simply not implementing,” Roberts said. “If they were, it’s estimated that 4,000 people would be released.”
Recently state officials tried unsuccessfully to convince a federal three-judge panel to allow the prison system to operate under its current conditions.
The governor and top prison officials argued that improvements to medical facilities and the reduction in inmate population had adequately addressed crowding concerns.
The judges have yet to rule on the issue, and are expected to make their decision in the next three months.
However, the judges maintained their stance that the state must reduce its prison population to 137.5 percent of design capacity by June 26. The population cap does not refer to individual facilities, but to the system’s 33 adult prisons collectively.
California’s prison system stands at about 150 percent of design capacity, according to corrections officials.
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The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is converting Valley State Prison for Women into a men’s prison in response to a U.S. Supreme Court order to reduce overcrowding. Instead of releasing people, they are squeezing over 1,000 women and transgender people into the two remaining women’s prisons. This has aggravated overcrowding (bringing Central California Women’s Facility’s population dangerously close to 4000), created dangerous conditions and health care is getting much worse. What’s more, they have added yet another men’s prison to their inhumane system.
COME SHOW SUPPORT FOR ALL PEOPLE LOCKED UP IN CHOWCHILLA’S PRISONS!
TELL THE FEDERAL JUDGES OVERCROWDING MUST STOP NOW!
BRING OUR LOVED ONES HOME!
Rides available by bus and carpool. Contact email@example.com or 415-255-7036 x 314
Caravans leaving from MacArthur BART in Oakland at 10:30AM and Chuco’s Justice Center in Inglewood at 8:30AM. We will gather at 2PM at SE corner of Ave. 24 and Fairmead Blvd off Highway 99 in Chowchilla.
Rally begins at 3PM at VSPW.
Manifestación Para la Libertad de Chowchilla, Sabado, 26 de enero
3:00PM en Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW)
El Departamento de Corrección y Rehabilitación de California (CDCR) quiere convertir Valley State Prison (VSPW), una prisión estatal para mujeres, en una prisión para hombres en respuesta a la orden dada por la Corte Suprema Estodounidense de reducir la sobrepoblación en las prisiones de CA. En vez de disminuir la poblacion y cerrar VSPW, quieren forzar y comprimir 1,000 mujeres y personas transexuales en las dos prisiones para mujeres que permanecen, haciendo crecer la población de una prisión a casi 4,000 cuando su capacidad máxima es 2,000. Esto ha agravado el problema de la sobrepoblación, creado condiciones peligrosas, y empeorado la atención medica en las prisiones. Venga y demuestre su apoyo para todas los personas encarceladas en la prisión de Chowchilla!
Transportación disponible por autobus y coche
Escribanos a firstname.lastname@example.org o llame 415 255 7036 ext. 314
Caravanas salén de MacArthur BART en Oakland, CA a las 10:30AM y de Chuco’s Justice Center en Inglewood, CA a las 8:30AM.
Reunion de Manifestantes a las 2:00PM en la esquina de Avenue 24 y Fairmead Blvd. Al lado de la HWY- 99 en Chowchilla. La manifestación comenzara a las 3:00PM en VSPW.
- Chowchilla Freedom Rally to draw hundreds of Bay Area residents to Central Valley to protest women’s prison (moorbey.wordpress.com)
- Chowchilla prison shifts from women to men (fresnobee.com)
- For Real Prison Reform, Longer is Not Always Better (prisonreformmovement.wordpress.com)
- Californians- Call to action from CURB (prisonreformmovement.wordpress.com)